Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin isn’t happy with the LA Lakers for taking out a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.
On Monday, the Lakers, who are worth an estimated $3 billion, announced that they were returning $4.6 million they received from the federal government program meant to provide relief for small businesses.
The Los Angeles Lakers have returned approximately $4.6 million that they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses weather the economic burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the team said in a statement to ESPN on Monday.
The Lakers, one of the NBA’s most profitable franchises, applied for relief through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, and were among the companies and nonprofits granted loans during the first round of distributions. But after reports that several large or highly capitalized entities were securing aid from the program’s initial $349 billion pool — while hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses were shut out — the Lakers said they returned the money.
The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the Lakers said in a statement to ESPN. “Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”
Mnuchin went on CNBC Tuesday morning and called the Lakers’ decision to apply for a loan “outrageous” while going on to say that he’s glad they returned the money.
“I’m not a big fan of the fact that they took a $4.6 million,” .” “I think that’s outrageous.”
“I would have never expected in a million years that the Los Angeles Lakers” would take such a loan. He also said he was glad the team returned the money, “or they would have had liability.”
Mnucin says that the White House will audit any loan over $2 million after it was revealed that more than 200 publicly traded companies have applied for Paycheck Protection Program loans
“I’m going to be putting out an announcement later this morning that for any loan over $2 million, the Small Business Administration will be doing a full review of that loan before there is loan forgiveness,” Mnuchin said on “Squawk Box.”
“This was a program designed for small businesses. It was not a program that was designed for public companies that had liquidity.’”